What's Going on in the IB PYP - Part II
The Teachers Are Missing!
Student 1: Hey! Where are the teachers?!
Student 2: I don’t know! How can they just leave us alone?!
Student 3: Ms. Sackrison’s apartment must have caught on fire!
Students 1 and 2: Oh no!
Student 3: What should we do?!
Student 1: I don’t know!
Student 2: Maybe we should go inside and wait for them…
Student 3: No! We must wait for them outside!
On a recent sunny morning, Grade 4 students faced this very strange predicament: “The teachers are missing!” The students found themselves “alone” without any of their instructors in sight. Some went up to the principals and teachers passing by and asked whether they had seen their teachers. However, all the adults replied, “Sorry. No.”
A temporary “riot” even occurred among all Grade 4 students, who were debating on whether they should go to their classrooms or continue waiting outside. It took the students some time before they decided to move indoors. Certain children constantly checked the doors to see if any of the teachers were coming. Finding this fruitless, they asked other teachers for help, telling them their own teachers did not come. The students eventually made the decision to go where they were supposed to be at the time. However, certain individuals went to the office, staff room, and even the school counselor’s office to report their teachers were missing. One student even went to ES Principal Julie Lawton and told her, “None of the Grade 4 teachers are here. We have gone upstairs, but don’t worry, we are all safe.”
What on earth happened that morning? Why were all the Grade 4 teachers missing?
As one of their “How We Organize Ourselves” Units Of Inquiry looking into how systems use power and authority to make decisions and accomplish goals. Ms. Ashley Heath, Grade 4 Homeroom teacher, described the activity as this: “The ‘Morning Without Teachers’ was used to see how students would react and deal with the teachers not coming to get them for morning line up.” The usual routine of greeting and picking the students up in the morning was broken deliberately by the teachers, which include Ms. Marcey Bailey and Ms. Sandy Sackrison, who were secretly watching and filming to see how they would make a decision and accomplish the goal of going to their first period. The teachers were particularly looking to see if there were any students that came forward as leaders and how they made their decisions.
When the teachers finally did show up in the classrooms, to many cheers and sighs of relief of course, they asked the students to write and reflect on what had happened, asking the children these questions:
• What happened?
• What did you do?
• Who made the decisions?
• How did you decide to …?
Continuing with the unit, the students will participate in various team building activities in which they must come up with methods on how to accomplish them. Once again, the teachers will watch for who leads, who follows, and how decisions are made.
Overall, the main purpose of this unit is to look at how a system works, the relationship between power and authority, as well as the responsibilities leaders and followers have within a certain system. The teachers have reiterated they will work on the students’ social skills of cooperating, resolving conflicts, and group decision making to help them come up with various strategies in order to deal with conflict and solve any challenges they may face.